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Player Grades: Vince Carter

The legend was solid on the court and terrific everywhere else.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Grading anything as subjective as an entire NBA season is always a tough gig. Different people have different goals for an individual as well as different techniques for assessing a seven month long journey. To keep things moderately simple, I will be using the expectations we had heading into the season for each player as the barometer for how well their season went. These grades won’t necessarily tell us where they rank among their fellow NBA players or what their career trajectory may be, but rather it will help assess where we stand with that prospect today compared to where we stood in October.

Player: Vince Carter

Grade: B+

Reasoning: Vince Carter is one of the few NBA legends who has managed to gracefully transform from a superstar to a role player to a mentor. Although he wasn’t the most stellar contributor on the court for the Kings this season, he was still the most valuable offseason signing for the Front Office. He was solid when he received minutes, content when he rode the bench, and was a positive influence that was vital to our rebuilding franchise.

Areas of Strength

Even though he turned 41 in January, Carter was still able to make an impact on the floor in a variety of ways. With the NBA’s movement toward smaller lineups as well, as the Kings desperate need for serviceable players this season, our veteran wing was out of his normal position for much of the year:

Positional Transition

Position Career Mins Career % 2018 Mins 2018%
Position Career Mins Career % 2018 Mins 2018%
Shooting Guard 24,743 63% 41 4%
Small Forward 13,746 35% 533 52%
Power Forward 785 2% 451 44%

That positional transition often forced Vince to guard opposing big men, and he actually held his own pretty well. During the 2018 campaign, players attempted 109 field goals within six feet of the rim when covered by Carter, and he allowed them to make only 54% of those, an 8.4% reduction from their regular season average, placing him in the 91st percentile in the league and also best on the team.

Carter was also a stable, experienced force when he walked onto the hardwood: an important element on a squad teeming with inexperience. He had the third best net rating on the team, recording an offensive rating of 102 and a defensive rating of 106.2, resulting in a total of -4.2. Almost every single player on their rookie contract improved when sharing the court with Vince:

Difference Maker

Player MPG Shared On Court NRtg Off Court NRtg Differential
Player MPG Shared On Court NRtg Off Court NRtg Differential
Jackson 6.8 0.1 -9.9 10
Cauley-Stein 8.1 -1.6 -9.6 8
Bogdanovic 9.4 -3.9 -10.3 6.4
Labissiere 8.7 0.1 -5.7 5.8
Hield 11.6 -1.3 -5 3.7
Fox 7.2 -8.5 -11.1 2.6
Mason 11.3 -6.1 0.3 -6.4

Carter’s contribution as a player-coach was exactly what the organization was seeking when they signed the legend, and his ability to make an impact when his sneakers hit the floor was simply an added bonus.

Areas of Opportunity

While Carter was stalwart when guarding the rim, his defense turned quite porous when he was required to cover three-point shooters. When launching from deep, opponents nailed 45.1% of their attempts when defended by Carter, while their season-long average was just 35.4%. That equaled an increase of 9.7% which the worst differential in the entire NBA, ranking last out of 296 qualified players.

Vince also became a bit infatuated with scoring from beyond the arc. 58% of his field goals originated from the three-point line, the second highest ratio of his career. Last year, Carter attempted 60% of his shots from that same range, but he hit quite a few more. In 2017, he averaged 38% with the long-ball, above league average; whereas this season he nailed only 34%, well below the median of the NBA.

Final Thoughts: The Kings goal in free agency was to sign veterans who were ready to come in and share their experiences, as well as to accept a reduced role in favor of the youth movement. Of the three signings completed by Vlade, Vince Carter was easily the most successful as well and the least expensive. Vinsanity played average ball for the Kings, but his impact goes well beyond stats. The constant mentions of his helpfulness by the staff, the pre-game workouts with Harry Giles, and the gratefulness of our rookies and sophomores demonstrates the incredible return on investment that Carter provided for our Front Office. It would be perfectly understandable if Vince wanted to try and play for a contender next season, but if he wished to return to Sacramento as either a player or as a coach, he would be more than welcome back.